Air France Union Strike Grounds 20 per cent Of All Flights

Air France

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Embattled air travellers in Europe, already dealing with delayed and cancelled flights because of the extreme cold, now have something else to worry about.An Air France workers’ union strike began on Monday, forcing the carrier to cancel around 20 per cent of its flights, Reuters reports. The strike is expected to last until February 9.

At other airports like Toulouse, up to half of all flights were cancelled. A spokesman said further cancellations were possible later in the day.

The union, which comprises aircrew and cabin crew (pilots, stewardesses, stewards) and ground personnel (ground handling agents, refueling, baggage handlers, and mechanics, among others), is protesting a bill being debated by the French parliament, that would oblige employees planning to strike to give 48 hours’ notice, Le Monde reports. The protesting employees were joined by politicians from the extreme Left, according to Le Parisien.

The measure  — already passed by the Lower House and up for review in the Senate next week — would prevent passengers getting stranded at airports by allowing airlines to plan for minimum services, according to the government. The unions see it as an attempt to “restrict the [workers’] right to strike.”

Aéroports de Paris, which runs the Paris’ international airports, including Charles de Gaulle, is mobilizing teams of employees on Monday to help passengers cope with the strike, AFP reports.

Air France was counting on flying 85 per cent of its long-haul flights and 80 per cent of its medium-haul flights, but the National Union of Airline Pilots (SNPL), was sceptical of the claim, saying over 50 per cent of drivers were on strike Monday morning. “This strike is widely backed and will increasingly be so,” SNPL spokesman Louis Jobard said.

Transport Minister Thierry Mariani said the government would go “all the way” with the legislation. “The right to strike is there, and the right to strike will remain, but passengers will at last have some rights,” he told RTL radio.

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.